Lately, Islam and triple talaq has become synonymous to female oppression.
It takes all of 30 seconds for someone to get offended and claim that Islam exists for the sole purpose of demeaning women.With a little help from the beloved bhakts, such insinuations happen within the blink of an eye these days.
But do we really understand what all this hullabaloo is about?
What is triple talaq?
For starters, this is NOT an exclusive right limited to men. Women are also entitled to something similar known as the Qula. Also, a divorce is not simply obtained by shouting “Talaq, talaq, talaq” in rapid succession. There is a certain procedure.
In September 2016, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board(AIMPLB) defended the triple talaq tradition by drafting an affidavit which stated, “if there develops serious discord between the couple, and the husband does not at all want to live with her, legal compulsions of time consuming separation proceedings may deter him.”
How is it done?
The husband is to strictly follow the waiting period (iddat) and declare talaq for the first time in the first month, second time in the second month, and the third time in the third month in pure (paki) condition. If the couple is able to resolve their issues within this period, they can resume their relationship.
However, it is no surprise that misuses of triple talaq happen. There are plenty of such instances. Such misuse basically tantamounts to abuse and unfortunately, it ends up crippling the woman personally, financially, socially and in all other conceivable ways.
So what is being done to prevent misuse?
Yes. News flash.
While many of us think that followers of Islam get a sadistic pleasure while watching their women suffer, rethink. Islam is not quiet about the misuse of triple talaq. About 22 countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh have done away with it.
The AIMPLB has formulated a code of conduct which is to be followed by all Muslim men. This code is also being made mandatory to be preached in all Friday prayers at all mosques.
The AIMPLB says that is it imperative for the husband to strictly follow the waiting period of one month (extended to nine months with maintenance if the wife is pregnant) and attempt temporary separation involving family members as mediators.
In case a male decides to go ahead with instant triple talaq, he will be subject to social ostracisation which would be similar to the practice of denying “hookah paani”(social contact).
What is in it for the women?
Primarily, the woman can re-marry right after a triple talaq. Also, her ex husband can re-establish a relationship with her as she is considered to be halala (haram for the man as he has let go of her).
A particularly important consequence of this lies in the fact that the husband cannot just drop off and again re-pick his woman as and when he wants. However, post Qula, the woman can go back to her previous husband if situations turn out that way.
Whether the Uniform Civil Code is imperative for basic women’s rights is an endless debate. The AIMPLB claims to have collected 5.71 crore signatures of which 2.81 belong to women supporting the retention of the practice of triple talaq. However, the credibility of the figures remain obscure.
Exploitation of women in any form should be strongly condemned. But, let’s not be too hasty with our inferences. Triple talaq has its ancient origins rooted in the concept of safeguarding women; an archaic concept which has now morphed into an ugly monster. This does not in any way mean that everything about Islam aims to oppress women. For example, the recent outcries regarding the hijab.
If one has the right to wear a bikini, another should also have the right to wear a hijab.
The main idea is to live and let live. Be it the AIMPLB’s code of conduct or the yet-to-be exercised Uniform Civil Code, any move that terminates the misuse of a particular practice is more than welcome.